The giant mud crab is one of the most popular seafood among consumers for its meatiness, distinctively sweet, moist and firm flesh and attractiveness in seafood dishes and platters.
Commonly found in the estuaries and mangrove swamps of Asia, Australia and Africa, this dark blue-green to brown swimmer crab can grow to 3 kilograms wearing carapaces measuring 28 centimetres. They are also referred to as black crab, green crab, mangrove crab, muddie, muddy and green crab.
Many seafood fans in Southeast Asia consider them to be the tastiest crabs surpassing the Tasmanian giant crab and snow crab. Smaller crabs are readily available live in the local markets where they are ideal sizes for home woks.
Spicy Sambal Crab at No Signboard Restaurant in Singapore
Heavier crabs of 1 kilograms and above are usually reserved for seafood and specialty crab restaurants like No Signboard in Singapore which serves up a wicked 2 kilogram white pepper version which usually has my name on it when I'm in the city.
Above 1 kg crabs at The Seafood International Market & Restaurant
The Seafood International Market & Restaurant serves an equally tasty but black pepper version that has customers coming back for more. One of my favourite seafood eateries in Bangkok, T&K Seafood, transform the giant mud crab into a mouthwatering dish covered with fragrant yellow curry that begs a second order.
The giant mud crab is common in Australia, found mostly along the coast from New South Wales north around to Western Australia's Shark Bay. Majority of the commercial catch by pots, drop nets and dillies are derived from Queensland and Northern Territory where supply are plentiful from January to April and May to August respectively.
In Queensland and New South Wales Australia, they are a definite favourite among locals. I've seen trough loads of live crabs in the Sydney Fish Markets and the Gold Coast Fishermen's Co-Operative. Most of the cooked ones in the Sydney Fish Market and Aussie seafood eateries like Peter's on the Gold Coast are boiled and served cold. Unfortunately they haven't made it to my favourite seafood buffets at Sheraton Sydney and Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast which only serves spanner crabs. You won't find them either on the annals of Victoria's Food History.
If you get your hands on a giant mud crab either from the market or from a catch, there are plenty of ways to cook them and their meat is excellent with salads, soups, noodles and rice. For me, I find it easier to just head to a specialty crab or seafood restaurant in South East Asia or Australia and order up.